- LA PLATA, July 10, 2011 (AFP) - With Chile and Peru unexpectedly setting the pace in Group C of the Copa America, World Cup semi-finalists Uruguay have it all to do if they are to reach the quarter-finals.
A win over Mexico in La Plata on Tuesday is needed after the Charruas made a slow start in what coach Oscar Tabarez has called a "weird" tournament.
Despite talents such as Liverpool's Luis Suarez and Atletico Madrid's Diego Forlan to call upon the Celeste have been suffering from the strange affliction which has hit holders Brazil and hosts Argentina at the event to date -- an inability to win games.
Brazil coach Mano Menezes made the Uruguayans, who have won a joint record 14 continental titles with Argentina but none since 1995, his outside bet for glory.
But a draw with Peru was not the start that Tabarez wanted and an ensuing stalemate with Chile left the Uruguayans two points off the leading Pacific pair.
Should the Uruguayans win and their rivals cancel each other out they could end up with five points and yet, depending on goal difference and average, come third in the group.
However, it is likely that scenario would still see them through as the two best third-placed finishers in the competition's three groups will advance.
Tabarez admitted Sunday the tournament was not panning out the way he had wanted or expected.
"It's unusual the way things are going at the moment. It's weird to imagine a Copa America where Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay or Uruguay go out in the opening phase. And it's a surprise to see Argentina, Brazil, as well as Uruguay and Paraguay not winning either of their opening two games," he added.
"But I am sure the team will go out and fight for the result we need against Mexico.
The Mexicans, meanwhile, have seen their gamble of blooding a young side after the seniors won the Gold Cup backfire in terms of qualification after losing to Chile and Peru.
But the idea was to garner experence ahead of the 2014 World Cup qualifying programme.
One of their more experienced names, Gold Cup winner Giovanni Dos Santos, told reporters that "we must keep our heads up and do as well as we can. As long as there's hope we must keep plugging away."
Possible lineups of the teams:
Uruguay: 1-Fernando Muslera, 16-Maxi Pereira, 2-Diego Lugano, 4-Sebastian Coates and 11-Álvaro Pereira; 15-Diego Pérez, 17-Egidio Arévalo Ríos, 20-Álvaro González and 7-Cristian Rodríguez; 9-Luis Suárez and 10-Diego Forlán. Coach: Oscar Tabárez.
Mexico: 1-Luis Michel, 14-Néstor Araujo, 19-Héctor Reynoso, 21-Hiram Mier; 22-Paul Aguilar, 5-Darvin Chávez, 15-Jorge Enríquez, 23-Diego Reyes e 11-Javier Aquino; 10-Giovani dos Santos and 9-Rafael Márquez Lugo. Coach: Luis Fernando Tena.
The stars of the game:
Uruguay: The ‘celeste’ team has as highlights its offensive attack trio: Luis Suarez, Diego Forlán and Edinson Cavani. Luis Suarez, 24, is the talisman of the 9 shirt. He was the player who putted his hand in the game against Ghana in 2010 World Cup, saving a goal that would eliminate the ‘celeste’. Liverpool player, Suarez moved to the England team and it's a reference to the team. Edinson Cavani, also 24, is the great revelation of Uruguay. Playing in Italy, he did a very good season and is the highlight of his team. Diego Forlán, 32, was the best player in the last World Cup. He is the great experience of the attack and reference to the other two players. Other stars of the national team are Fernando Muslera and Diego Lugano.
Mexico: The Mexican national team star, who was champion in the Gold Cup, and is going to play the Copa America is Giovani dos Santos. The forward, with 22 years, is experienced and serves as a reference for the younger players, since Mexico has 17 players as U-22. Luis Michel, Rafael Marquez and Hector Reynoso are others to pay attention.
Curiosities of the Confrontation:
- This confrontation has happened 18 times, with four victories for Uruguay, Chile has 7 wins and 7 draws. Uruguay scored 22 goals and Mexico scored 25 times.
- For the Copa America Uruguay never won Mexico. There were 4 games with 2 wins and 2 draws for Mexico. Uruguay scored five and Mexico scored eight goals.
- The 13 goals in this confrontation that took place in the Copa America were scored by different players.
- If Uruguay has never won in Mexico in Copa America, but in the World Cup is the opposite. The teams have met twice; with one victory (1-0) of the ‘celeste’ and one draw (0-0).
- Uruguay is the team that participated in more Copa Americas, going 41 times.
- The ‘celeste’ is also the most champion, along with Argentina, with 14 titles.
- Mexico has the youngest player in the Copa America, Diego Reyes, 18 years.
- The Mexican team had to change eight players one week before the start of the Copa America. The athletes were punished for indiscipline.
- Mexico never won the Copa America.
- Mexico is the team "invited" who were involved in the Copa America eight times.
The last duel:
In the last duel, Uruguay won Mexico in the 2010 World Cup. The 1-0 victory took place in Rustenburg, South Africa. The only goal was scored by Luis Suarez. In this confrontation, by the Mexican national team, only Giovani dos Santos will play on Tuesday.